Whitepaper Download Landing Page Critique

example landing pageLots and lots has been written about landing page optimization, but today I want to focus specifically on some tips and tricks for optimizing your landing page if a whitepaper download is your desired business goal.

So…you have a whitepaper. You paid to have it written and produced, and you think it’s neat. It probably is, so persuading people to download it is important!

To help me explain my tips and tricks, I’ll be using a relatively random example page which did NOT persuade me to give up my contact information and submit the form. I don’t mean to pick on anyone, but I thought it is a good example of a page that is doing some things right, but has plenty of room for improvement.

I’m going to group my critique points into 5 categories that are key to online marketing optimization:

Credibility – I list this one first because it’s one of the first factors a person assesses when they land on your page. I think this landing page does a pretty good job with credibility. There is a crisp logo that leverages the credibility of a “household name” brand. The design and layout is clean and professional. But, what else could be added to increase credibility? How about the logos of companies with case studies in the whitepaper? How about a pull quote from the whitepaper itself? How about information about the authors’ expertise?

Relevance – Relevance is also processed within milliseconds of the person landing on your page. Relevance might be to a hyperlink the person clicked on in an article, a call to action on a website, or a search result (paid ad or organic) on a search engine. In any case, the landing page must ooze relevance to where people are coming from, what keywords they use, and what problems they’re looking to solve. Relevance on this page has some issues, starting with the image at the top. Could anything be less relevant to a white paper about female behavior online that what looks like two Lego┬« men playing golf?!? On the positive, the headline and body copy help build relevance back up.

Persuasive content – Think of persuasive content as the “why” a person should take the action you’re asking them to take. Why should I give you 6 pieces of data about me? What’s in it for me? The body copy does the heavy lifting on this page, and while the copy helps me understand the “what” of what’s in the report, it doesn’t address the why. It doesn’t sell me. This is where the somewhat overused (by optimization practitioners) six factors of persuasion made famous by Mr. Cialdini might be a starting point to optimize the content on this page. Also, no one will be persuaded by your content if the font size is too small to read, so don’t copy these guys!

Merchandising – What I refer to here is how the whitepaper content asset itself is merchandised to look appealing, build specific relevance, and help persuade me of the value of the exchange (information for a publication). The builders of this landing page did a decent job of at least including an image of the report cover and making it stand out off the page, but they could have done a lot more. For example: how many pages is the report? What file format? What file size? Are there pictures? Infographics? Charts and graphs? I’d love to see a “by the numbers” display telling me there are 3 case studies, 4 helpful charts, 16 pages, and references to 8 additional resources I can explore if I want to dig deeper into the topic.

Form & Call to Action – Again, lots has been written about form and call to action design in the context of landing page optimization. Let’s look specifically at this example in the context of a B2B lead generation scenario. I like that the merchandised report image is near the form, I like that the form has a colored background, and I like that the call to action is clear. On the negative, I feel that 6 pieces of information is a lot to ask for a whitepaper. And the button design is pretty boring and flat. The number one offense, though, is a complete lack of reassurance about how my information will be used, how my privacy will be safeguarded, and whether I’ll get my whitepaper for immediate download, emailed to me, sent via carrier pigeon, etc. Just be transparent on this stuff, marketers. Your B2B prospects aren’t stupid.

If you have a landing page that asks for information in exchange for a downloadable asset, critique it using the 5 categories I used. You may find a few things you want to change right away. Better yet, you’ll have a list of changes you can test to get scientific data on what works best in your particular business context.

What do you think? Did I miss any major categories or aspects of this type of landing page that should be considered?

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